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Long Point Basin Land Trust
Mushroom Walk Among the Giants

Langton, ON – On Saturday, October 5, Long Point Basin Land Trust hosted Mushroom Walk Among the Giants at Jackson – Gunn Old Growth Forest. This nature reserve was the first property acquired by the land trust in 2004. It has never been cleared or logged, which makes it an excellent example of an old growth forest. Sugar maples and beech trees tower overhead, measuring 1.5 meters in diameter at the base. Some are estimated to be close to 300 years old.

The event was well attended by 24 people eager to learn about mushrooms and share their own knowledge about these interesting fungi. Inga Hinnerichsen lead a discussion, with examples, for the first portion of the event. Inga, a local mushroom enthusiast, shared various examples of mushrooms and explained some of the differences between them.

With possibly 5 million different species of mushrooms and counting, Inga focused on three groups: polypore, gilled and puffball mushrooms. Despite the variety you’re hunting for, Inga covered the basics for what you should have on hand before you set out into the woods. First and foremost, you should have permission from the landowner. Second, a variety of guidebooks comes in handy; some have superior descriptions, others have better photos for identification. Third, you want to have an appropriate flat-bottomed container for what you collect (not plastic bags). The fourth item Inga mentioned was the appropriate tool - a knife specifically designed with a brush on the opposite end. Last, but not least, Inga recommended a knowledgeable guide to join you. Start slowly and go with someone who knows their fungi. There are certain varieties out there that are poisonous. Inga cautioned that many are safe to eat but have ‘look alikes’ that are not safe.

Inga encouraged attendees to take many features in to account when identifying. It’s important to look at the top, underside and consider the aroma in order to make an accurate identification. A spore print can also give you clues and can be achieved by placing a mushroom on a piece of paper after cutting off the stem. This allows the spores to fall on to the surface beneath, leaving a powdery residue similar to a fingerprint. Of course, always err on the side of caution if you’re unsure.

Common names like earth stars, fairy bench, turkey tails, lion’s mane and artist’s conk help with recognition. The group was fortunate to see many of these on the walk which followed Inga’s presentation, as well as many other varieties, including (common name) dead man’s fingers. While on the trails, the group happily shared tips and tricks to help with identification. Attendees photographed many worthwhile examples.

Jackson – Gunn Old Growth Forest is a great example of fungi contributing to the health of a forest. Many mushrooms grow on dead trees including beeches, birches and hemlocks. Gradually decomposing, these trees provide nutrients for the remaining plants and trees.

Long Point Basin Land Trust was founded in 1996 with a mission to protect and restore functioning ecosystems in the central Carolinian Region. This is accomplished through land ownership, land management and nature stewardship. LPBLT currently protects 10 nature reserves, totalling 671 acres, which provide opportunities for people to connect with nature through hands-on outdoor experiences.

Mushroom Walk Among the Giants is part of an outdoor event series organized by Long Point Basin Land Trust. For more information, please contact Cynthia Tosswill, Communications & Outreach at (226) 235-1663 or cynthiatosswill@gmail.com.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 08 October 2019 11:47:05 AM EST

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